Whether you choose to study your postgraduate degree part time or full time, the chances are it’ll be a bit of a balancing act – but a completely manageable one.
With the help of some friends who’ve studied at postgrad level (with some holding down a full-time job at the same time) we’ve put together some tips to help you navigate the world of postgraduate study.
Find a subject you enjoy
While it might sound obvious, finding out a bit more about your chosen subject before you commit is a really smart idea. Selecting a course you’re genuinely interested in will make it feel a lot less like study, and you’ll be much more motivated to get stuck in. Do a bit of background reading, investigate courses and talk to people who’ve been there before to help you figure out the right path for you.
Plan, plan, plan
Making a realistic study schedule is key to staying on track. Try to anticipate when you’ll be too tired to study (don’t schedule a six-hour evening study stint when you’ve been at work all day), and when you’ll be at your most productive. Figure out at the start of term when you’ll be on placement, so you can make any alternative arrangements well in advance.
We know it’s not always possible when you have other commitments, but where you can, try to attend lectures. Engaging with other students and building relationships with your professors can be really helpful, so whether it’s in person or online, get involved as much as you can. It’ll enrich your learning experience and you might just learn something new.
Shake up your study zone
Switch up where you do your study. A new location can offer a fresh perspective, so take yourself out for coffee, find your focus in the library or get some air in the park while you do your reading.
Ask for help
There are loads of people around who are happy to help – all you have to do is ask. Whether it’s advice on study techniques or a technical question about your subject, speak up.
Give yourself a break
Although your study time might be limited, it’s important to take time out to see friends, squeeze in some exercise and indulge in your hobbies. It might feel like you’re slacking off, but focusing your attention on something else for a while will mean that you come back refreshed and ready to tackle that next assignment.
Let your employer know
If you’re holding down a full-time job while studying, make sure you mention it to your boss. That way, they can make sure you have the flexibility and support you need.
Give yourself time to adjust
At the beginning, it might seem like a lot. Allow yourself a couple of weeks to get used to things. If you’re feeling a little rusty, don’t worry – you’ll soon get to grips with what’s expected of you, pick up new study techniques and figure out how you work best. Learning to juggle work, study, other responsibilities and leisure time can take a little while, but once you strike that balance and start to see results, it’ll be completely worth it. Persevere, have confidence in yourself and don’t underestimate your ability.